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Having pain around breast. Had a normal mammogram on HRT. Due to hormonal changes?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
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I am a 58-year-old female. I've been having pain behind/around my left breast for a couple of months. When I press on the breast itself, I don't feel pain except for the normal pain from pressing breast tissue (same as with my right breast). So it seems to be chest muscle pain of some sort. However, it makes me nervous because 4 months ago I had a magnification mammogram on my left breast to check our an area of microcalcification. They said it didn't look like anything to be concerned about and said I should have another mammogram in 6 months. When they did the magnification mammogram I was on HRT, my breasts were tender, and the mammogram really hurt! I felt like my breath was being squeezed out of me. Could the pain I have now possibly be a result of that mammogram? As soon as I was finished with the HRT pills I was taking, I didn't refill my prescription and quit cold XXXXXXX I had never had an abnormal mammogram before, and 6 months after starting I had an abnormal mammogram, so just in case, I quit taking the pills. So could this chest pain possibly be from hormonal changes? I lost my job 3 months ago, along with its health benefits, and I now have a huge deductible, so I'm reluctant to have a bunch of tests. What do you think?
Posted Sat, 2 Mar 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Luchuo Engelbert Bain 3 hours later
Hi and thanks for the questions,

Breast tenderness is a common problem in women. In your case, from the start you had a normal mammogram on HRT. HRT does not cause changes in the breast tissues leading to calcifications or whatsoever. Mammography can cause some pain, but could also not be at the origin of the abnormal mammogram that you had lately.

Pain around the breast can either be from the breast or from another region and pain is felt in the breast as a referred pain. Pressing on the breast and feeling pain could suggest an inflammatory origin. Conditions like Osteochondritis which is the inflammation of the ribs and sternum joints could present as such.
Mammography at times for interpretation, depends on the interpreter, and some artifacts or false images could be interpreted as real which off course might not reflect the reality.

Since you don't have a medical insurance to cover for this illness, I suggest you to try warm compression and over the counter analgesics like ibuprofen 400mg twice a day for a few days. If symptoms don't resolve I would suggest you XXXXXXX a gynecologist for a new complete evaluation with other blood tests, Do a new mammography for the results to be compared and confirmed. As I said, HRT and repeated mammographies cannot be at the origin of the abnormal mammograpgy. Hormonal replacement therapy could alter the intensity of pain, especially if it is of breast origin. Appreciating these usually entails a complete evaluation of your gynecologist.
I should be honored answering any further comments or inputs which could be of use to you if need be. Best regards as I wish you the best of health,
Luchuo, MD.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Having pain around breast. Had a normal mammogram on HRT. Due to hormonal changes? 7 hours later
I guess I was not clear about the mammograms. My latest normal mammogram was in October 2011. I did not start HRT until April 2012. My abnormal mammogram was in mid-October 2012, and then I had the magnification mammogram a week later. I stopped taking the HRT pills in early November 2012.

I really want to avoid having another mammogram before April, which would be the 6-month follow-up they recommended. I don't want to have so much radiation, plus I'm afraid it would make my pain even worse!

If my pain could possibly be from hormonal changes, how long does it take for hormones to settle down after getting off the HRT pills? (My breasts were tender a lot of the time that I was taking those pills.) Somewhere I read 3 months, so I was waiting to see if the pain cleared up by that time, but it is still there, and both of my breasts are still somewhat tender.
Answered by Dr. Luchuo Engelbert Bain 2 hours later

Thanks for the clarifications. It usually takes as you rightly said about three months. But is usually based on an average and might take a bit longer in some people. Exceeding 5 months is almost never reported. However in the mean time, if the pain really gets so intense, consulting your physician for some appropriate pain killer might help as you wait the normal degradation of the pain to decrease with time. Its a reasonable idea to take another mammogram after six months.

I would also suggest you to wear good, cotton and well adapted undergarments which might help. Maybe consult your doctor for some mild pain reliever as you wait for the 6 months to elapse, but not failing to report any serious events in case you notice any, to your treating physician.

Hope this helps, and do not hesitate asking further questions if need be.
Have a great day and best regards.

Luchuo, MD.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Having pain around breast. Had a normal mammogram on HRT. Due to hormonal changes? 16 hours later
Thank you for your help.
Answered by Dr. Luchuo Engelbert Bain 4 minutes later
I am honored and I wish you the best of health.

Please do write a review if you wish to.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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